These day’s so many people want to know what you’re eating and what diet you are following!
For me personally, I am not putting a label on what I eat. I know, I know, probably not what you want to hear, but hear me out….I think finding a diet to follow can be a good starting point to help provide someone with structure and a guide to follow. However, it has it’s downfalls.
I personally don’t put a label on what I eat (I mean if it’s a vegan meal, I’ll hashtag vegan or if it’s paleo, I’ll hashtag paleo for search purposes) but I am constantly changing and evolving what I eat, depending on what I feel my body needs. A year ago, I was having animal products three times a day and was just feeling really sluggish among other things. After reading some books (mainly How Not to Die, really interesting!), I wanted to give my body a break and see how I did without meat. I felt amazing! My digestion was fantastic and I felt lighter. However, sometimes the diet that helps you or heals you, is not always going to be the diet that will sustain you. Since my new addiction to podcasts, (I feel like I have a very addictive behavior!) I am constantly listening to people’s stories. I feel a lot of people pick a diet to follow, whether it is paleo, vegan or keto etc… and feel amazing! However, a year or ten years later things start to change in their body, but they are so focused on following that particular diet, because it made them feel amazing in the beginning, they resent making any changes to that diet. Then things progressively get worse, until something presents itself that you can’t ignore (insert reference to candida. I had small signs that built up over the years until my body was like, “F you, we’re giving you something you cannot ignore!”).
As I’ve mentioned before, there is an overwhelming amount of research out there. You can find very compelling research studies that for example, support eating meat and then studies that don’t support eating meat. That’s why I really try to go by how I feel. There are people who eat unhealthy and live to 105 and then there are people who seem to do everything right and unfortunately pass way before their time. We can’t see into the future (a time machine is in the works 😉 ) so my goal is to eat what makes me feel good now and keeps me healthy doing the things I love to do!
Don’t be afraid to switch things up if that is what your body is telling you. If your bloodwork is good and you feel good then keep doing what you’re doing! Nevertheless, if you start to feel sluggish or have symptoms, take a second look at what you’re eating or maybe other factors. It might just be what your body needs! Sometimes we don’t know how good we truly can feel until we feel better, because we don’t know anything else. Before taking sugar out of my diet I thought I felt good, and then when I took it out of my diet, I felt even better. Now looking back at what I thought was feeling good, I see it as low energy, unclear, mood swings and sluggish.
When you go on different diets, your body can deplete that supply of nutrition over time. So you feel great at first, but then slowly as you deplete that supply, you might start to feel more sluggish. Whether you choose to follow a paleo, vegan, keto etc… diet they all have one thing in common. Getting rid of the junk and eating whole foods! So of course, people are going to feel amazing and see results! If you need the structure of the program, of course find one that will work for you! However, something to keep in mind is that it might not be sustainable for your body. I think if you can follow 1 rule is to eat things with no ingredients, whole foods. For example, an apple is an apple, beans are beans, chicken is chicken, you get the idea. The less ingredients the better!
I did not eat meat for eight months and I felt amazing as I mentioned. However, once I started charting I noticed some things were off with my hormones. Now, I am incorporating it back into my diet. Through charting (see blog post about charting here) I will now be able to see if by incorporating it back into my diet will have any changes on my hormones (another reason why I’m on the charting bandwagon!).
I don’t feel deprived when I don’t eat a hamburger, because my stomach feels like a balloon. I become SOOO uncomfortable and it doesn’t make me feel good. This actually happened the other night with pizza! I added some different toppings on a pizza (my family and boyfriend can attest to this) and I was literally pacing in the hallway because my stomach straight up hurt. I felt like I was nine months pregnant about to explode. So unfortunately, I loooooove the taste of that pizza, but definitely will not be eating that again!
Everything is also about balance these days and it’s important to find a good balance. However, balance is something that is always going to be changing. I don’t think someone will get to the point and be like, “Okay! I found my balance” and then have that balance for the rest of their life! You might feel balanced for a little while, and then life happens and you need to make adjustments. Your body is constantly changing and aging (sorry but it’s true no matter how much we try to deny it! I try to deny it too!) so things are going to change! Let alone from stress, kids, work and the list goes on!
One suggestion I have seen over and over again is keeping a food journal. It really does help you become more aware of how you feel after eating different foods. Do you suddenly feel tired? Energized? Bloated? Gassy? Etc… If it makes you feel extremely gassy (yep I went there, the struggle is real) then cross it off the list, or try taking a digestive enzyme before eating it again and see if that helps.
Do not choose one diet and let that be your be-all-end-all. Be open to change and balance is not an end goal! Eat so you feel good!